STRIVE program connects the dots of the accounting pipeline

Written on Apr 06, 2018

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Jasmine Abukar, OSCPA manager of diversity and inclusion, asked the question that’s had the accounting profession scratching its head for years: “How do we both recruit and retain students?”

The Ohio CPA Foundation’s answer to this question is the STRIVE initiative, a broader effort to guide students through accounting pipeline programs from high school to undergraduate education.

“STRIVE is an acronym for Success Through Retention, Inclusion, Visibility and Engagement,” Abukar said. “It encompasses what we’re doing with our programs, and we want to make sure our students are successful first and foremost. We also want to retain these students as future accounting professionals."

STRIVE connects the programming dots for students so they know what opportunities are ahead as they continue their education. For example, a student who attends High School Accounting Career Day will learn about Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP-Ohio) a week-long program for racially underrepresented high school students.

It’s not enough to simply expose students to all that accounting has to offer; there needs to be a continuation of opportunity to encourage them to stick with accounting. Another crucial component of the initiative is the emphasis it places on inclusion.

“A pipeline program like STRIVE is ensuring the future of accounting is representative of the communities it serves,” she said.

As more students make their way through the pipeline programs, she noted those individuals make great examples for younger, underrepresented peers who are at the beginning of their accounting exploration journey.

“Visibility is important,” Abukar said. “We need to send a message to the students that it’s not just about you becoming an accountant. There are a lot of people who look like you and come from where you come from who have succeeded. These students need to have role models to emulate.”

Students have an almost overwhelming amount of choices to make as they continue their education and go on to pick a career. Through programs like STRIVE, OSCPA is ensuring accounting is at the top of students’ minds when they take the next step.

“It’s really important that we continue that engagement piece to retain those students,” she said. “We don’t want them to lose that enthusiasm and as an organization we want to maintain the momentum that we have with them.”

Go to www.ohiocpafoundation.org to learn more about The Ohio CPA Foundation and how you can support High School Accounting Career Days and other student outreach initiatives.

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